Linda Akeson McGurk: There’s No Such Thing as Bad Weather

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THERE’S NO SUCH THING AS BAD WEATHER

Listen to the Big Blend Radio interview with nature-centric parenting expert Linda Åkeson McGurk, who discusses her memoir “There’s No Such Thing as Bad Weather: A Scandinavian Mom’s Secrets for Raising Healthy, Resilient, and Confident Kids (from Friluftsliv to Hygge).”

Bringing Up Bébé meets Last Child in the Woods in “THERE’S NO SUCH THING AS BAD WEATHER: A Scandinavian Mom’s Secrets for Raising Healthy, Resilient, and Confident Kids (from Friluftsliv to Hygge)”, by Linda Åkeson McGurk, a lively memoir about a mother who sets out to discover if the nature-centric parenting philosophy of her native Scandinavia will lead to healthier, happier lives for her American children.

 

When Swedish-born Linda Åkeson McGurk moved to small-town Indiana with her American husband to start a family, she quickly realized that her outdoorsy ways were not the norm. The playgrounds, which she thought would be filled with children, were mostly deserted. American children, Linda discovered, preferred to stay indoors glued to their screens and smartphones. When she took her two young daughters out for walks in winter, people pulled over to offer them rides. She was even fined for letting her children play in a local creek, setting off an online firestorm when she later blogged about the incident.

 

In contrast, Scandinavian culture celebrates the outdoors and children are raised to appreciate nature; Swedish babies often nap outside year round—a practice that is not only common but recommended by the government. (A practice that could also send the Child Protective Services knocking on the door in the U.S.). Love of the outdoors has also made Scandinavia a world leader in renewable energy, recycling, and sustainable living.

 

The parenting philosophies of her native Sweden and her adopted homeland were worlds apart. Struggling to fit in and to decide what was best for her children, Linda turned to her own childhood for answers, and embarked on a six-month journey to Sweden with her daughters in tow. Could the Scandinavian philosophy of “there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes” be the key to better lives for her American children? How would her children’s relationships with nature change by introducing them to Scandinavian concepts like friluftsliv (“open-air living”) and hygge (the coziness and the simple pleasures of home)?

 

Some of the benefits of nature-centric parenting include:

  • Dirt! It’s actually good for you. The microbe Mycobacterium vaccae found in dirt improves cognitive functions like learning, and seems to trigger serotonin production, making us happier and relaxed.
  • A strong body and mind. Studies have found that children at Sweden’s forest schools—where most of the day is spent outside, regardless of weather—have fewer sick days than children at traditional preschools and that unstructured outdoor play leads to slimmer waistlines, boosted motor skills, and improvements in children’s abilities to delay gratification, show self-control, and set and reach their own goals.
  • Better physical and social health through risky play. Engaging in risky play—that is, at great heights, at high speed, with dangerous tools, with dangerous elements or without supervision—in nature leads to greater physical and social health. Risky play helps kids test their limits, increase their perceptual-motor capacity, and teaches them to avoid and adjust to dangerous environments and activities.  
  • Environmentally-conscious children. From forest schools to city-wide competitions to decrease food waste and carbon footprints in schools, love of nature is so ingrained in Swedish culture that it is a way of life from a young age, creating a generation of children committed to tackling issues like climate change and renewable energy.

THERE’S NO SUCH THING AS BAD WEATHER is a fascinating personal narrative that tackles larger childcare and environmental issues, highlighting the importance of nature-centric parenting and schooling—and why spending time outdoors is imperative for a developing child. The memoir is supplemented with hands-on tips, sidebars, outdoor activities, and advice on how to dress for the elements. www.RainorShineMamma.com.

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THERE’S NO SUCH THING AS BAD WEATHER is a fascinating personal narrative that tackles larger childcare and environmental issues, highlighting the importance of nature-centric parenting and schooling—and why spending time outdoors is imperative for a developing child. The memoir is supplemented with hands-on tips, sidebars, outdoor activities, and advice on how to dress for the elements. www.RainorShineMamma.com.

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